From: Tim Downs (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri, March 29, 2013 2:25:33 PM
Subject: For everything there is a season! Come to the 2013 Annual Meeting
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For Everything There is a Season, and a Time for Every Matter Under Heaven
47th Annual Meeting
We're excited to announce the 2013 Annual Meeting featuring keynote presentation by UCC General
Minister and President Rev. Geoffrey Black in addition to worship leadership from Rev. Joyce Hollyday,
Minister Dorinda Broadnax, and Rev. Dr. Dwight Andrews. First Congregational Church in Atlanta is
graciously hosting the event in their newly renovated sanctuary. In addition to dynamic worship the
meeting will provide several relevant workshops and panels geared toward enhancing ministry in
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We will also gather as Conference to say a hearty farewell to our Conference Minister, Rev. Tim Downs,
thanking him for his service as he enters retirement.
The final TAP Banquet and Commencement will take place on Thursday evening, June 13th at 6 pm.
Rev. Kathy Clark will be guest speaking as we put a capstone on this vibrant ministry as it transitions
into the PATHWAYS program.
Registration for the Annual Meeting will be open in the middle of April. Watch for details via email,
twitter, and our website.
Kim Shelton, a member of Community Congregational
UCC, Montgomery, was ordained on March 23rd, at
Advocate United Church of Christ, Chicago, as an associate
John Gill, pastor of Church of the Savior UCC, Knoxville,
received a grant for his sabbatical study, during which
he will be studying the impact of long term pastorates.
Chris Lyman-Waldron, pastor of Praxis UCC, Atlanta, has
been hired as the Director of Communications of the
Southeast Conference. This is his first newsletter.
Tom Query, a member of Church of the Savior, Roswell,
GA, and a pastoral counselor with the Wellspring Counseling
Center was installed on February 24th in a four way
covenant in his ministry.
The following ministers were each approved for transfer of
ordained ministerial standing to the Southeast Conference:
Valerie Coe Lowder, Clara Benson, Rick Diekmann,
and Kristen Barner. Congratulations and welcome!
Click here to read the details of these joyous celebrations!
News from the Conference and Associations
The Southeast Conference is now on Twitter!
Follow us @SECUCC for up to the minute announcements of
what's happening around the Conference.
CAMPAIGN FOR NEW AND RENEWING CONGREGATIONS TO
KICK OFF AT GENERAL SYNOD
Pleasant Hill Community UCC has honored Dr. Richard
Braun with a Memorial Concert on March 23rd. Dr. Braun,
who passed away in December, was a medical missionary
partnering with his wife Trudy in working with the United
Church Board for World Ministries in Africa. He had a
wonderful missionary career spanning three decades. Upon
returning to Cumberland County, Tennessee he loved
playing flute and participating in the music program at his
church in Pleasant Hill. To read more about Dr. Braun and
his life click here.
We are saddened to receive news of the death of Emmett
Floyd, who served as the Conference Minister of the
Southeast Conference from July 1, 1980 until December
31, 1987 and also served as the Conference Minister of the
Southern Conference. Remembered fondly as "the admiral",
prior to serving in conference ministry, Emmett had served
in the Navy as an admiral as well as serving as a new
church start pastor as a Southern Baptist minister. In
retirement, Rev. Floyd was an active interim serving a
number of churches in times of pastoral transition. He was
a beloved member of Elon Community UCC and the Eastern
North Carolina Association. We send condolences to his
wife, Katherine and family. His obituary can be found here.
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Leaders of the United Church of Christ have identified the
development of new congregations as a vital missional and
fundraising priority for the future of the church. To
underscore that commitment, a kick-off fundraiser,
TESTIMONY!, scheduled for General Synod 2013, begins a
major campaign to raise $1 million for church planting and
renewal across the UCC. Two ministers from the Southeast
Conference will be part of the plenary: Rev. Susannah
Davis, pastor of Kirkwood UCC, and Rev. Cindy Andews-
Looper, pastor of Holy Trinity Community Church.
Additionally, Rev. Elizabeth Clement will be one of the
leaders of the campaign. At Synod's fund raiser luncheon,
Rev. Dwight Andrews, pastor of First Congregational UCC in
Atlanta, will be directing the music. It is good to have such
broad SEC leadership as part of this campaign at General
Synod. Read more here.
The Fund for Theological Education is sponsoring the
College of Local Pastors a grant program for clergy
renewal. They offer up to $10,000 to cohorts of four to six
clergy to find their own refreshment and reinvigoration.
They are seeking ministers from the Southeast Conference
to participate. The deadline for the next round is May 15. To
find out more about this exciting program click here.
Dynamic Adult Education Resource
The Christian Century has recommended The Present Word
the top selling adult education curriculum from UCC
Resources. For more information click here.
Landmark Cultural Photographic Exhibit and
Documentary Screening in Birmingham
The photographic exhibit "BESA, Muslims Who Saved Jews
in World War II," is coming to Birmingham, March 5 - June
30 in the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. In addition, a
free screening of the documentary "BESA, the Promise" will
be shown on April 18. BESA is an Albanian word meaning
"faith" or "word of honor". An article about this event can
be found here .
Immigration Issues Event
Lutheran Services of Georgia is inviting all SEC
congregations to "When Strangers Become Neighbors"
a program on immigration issues from a faith perspective
on April 6. Southeastern Synod Bishop Julian Gordy is one
of the main speakers. More information can be found here.
Mission 4/1 EARTH
We begin Mission 4/1 Earth this coming Monday! This
initiative, which spans the 50 days of Pentecost, hopes to
accomplish more than 1 million hours of engaged earth
care, 100,000 tree plantings across the globe, and
100,000 advocacy letters written and sent on
Kirkwood UCC was highlighted in this month's KYP
(Keeping You Posted) for their pledge of 500 hours of
earth care, planting 50 trees and writing 50 letters over
the course of the 50 day event. Those are goals set by
AROUND rbe CONFERENCE
News from Our Local Churches
Holy Trinity Building Expansion
Holy Trinity Community UCC, Nashville, having successfully
completed a capital campaign for $1.7 million, and broken
ground for a new worship space that will more than double
their capacity, is looking forward to dedicating their
sanctuary in October, 2013. Rev. Tim Downs recently visited
the building site and captured this photo of their expansion
progress. Rev. Cindy Andrews-Looper reports that the new
sanctuary will be able to accommodate their vibrantly
growing congregation of more than 350 members.
Rev. Tim Downs Preaches at UCC Pensacola
United Church of Christ Pensacola, established in December
2012, is worshipping with 60 members, and welcomed
Conference Minister Tim Downs as their preacher on March
UCC Awards Grant to Fuller Center Legacy Build
UCCs National Disaster Ministries has awarded a $25,000
grant to the Fuller Center which will bring more than 200
volunteers to Atlantic City at the end of April in response
to devastation in the wake of superstorm Sandy. Kirk
Lyman-Barner, director of US Field Operations for the Fuller
Center and member of the Southeast Conference and his
team has been instrumental in putting together this event.
He is also laying the groundwork for starting a new UCC
congregation - Praxis UCC in Americus.
As we approach Easter Sunday, my mind
turns to the wonderful proclamation, "O
death, where is your victory? Death where is
your sting? Thanks be to God who gives us
victory through our Sovereign Jesus Christ!"
We are a people who celebrate the ways in
which God moves through and in us to be
signs of God's life and hope through our
churches and in our world. As I continue my journey among you, I
am deeply grateful for the ways in which we have partnered to be
signs of God's life affirming and life giving power.
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Rev. Susannah Davis's congregation of 80-100
members. You can see more of that story by clicking
There are lots of great resources on the national UCC
website including sermon seeds, liturgical materials, and
a live counter to log planted trees, hours volunteered,
and letters written.
Do you have stories that you want to share about the
work you're doing with Mission 4/1 Earth? Write the
Conference and let us know.
Invitation to Mission 4/1 Earth from the United
Church of Christ
Transform Your Life-Transform the World
Here's How.. .Apply Now
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Transforming Churches-Transforming Lives, the
Conference's Capital Campaign, is developing a
strategic plan for funding the first programs in
accordance with the Campaign's highest priorities.
The campaign's pledged monies are $614,000 to
date. Please contact Debbie Spearman, Generosity
Coordinator, if you would like to discuss a program or
initiative from your church that needs funding.
Trend spotting: Mobile payments
About half of adults in the US own a smartphone and
a whopping 28% of Americans use a mobile device as
Two weeks ago I was invited to lead a closing worship moment with
my colleagues in the Council of Conference Ministers. This was the
last time I would be with them before my retirement.
I began by sharing that when I began in conference ministry I was
invited to offer a reflection to the Council of Conference Ministers.
I had put together an altar on which I had arranged symbols of the
Southeast Conference and its legacy. There was a red altar cloth,
symbolizing the blood of the martyrs, black and white who had
given their lives to build the 500 schools and 200 churches to serve
the recently emancipated slaves. These schools were built and
staffed largely by women who wanted to make the same sacrifice
on behalf of "truth and light" that their brothers had made on the
battlefields of the Civil War for freedom. Many of them did make
those sacrifices in full. There was a cotton plant heavy with bolls
which I had uprooted on an Alabama roadside, representing the
sweat and labor of slaves, and later of tenant farmers, both black
and white. There was a copy of a letter written by the deacons of
First Congregational Church, Atlanta, to President Woodrow Wilson
in 1913 urging him to support federal anti-lynching legislation,
which he did not, symbolizing our long history of advocacy on
behalf of the marginalized and disenfranchised. I ended the
introduction to this altar by saying that while it might appear to be
a lonely ministry to be called to serve in the South on behalf of the
United Church of Christ, I have never felt alone because I, and we
as a conference, have been surrounded by supporters and
colleagues who share our call to be signs of God's triumph over
death and despair.
I have never felt alone in this ministry. Of course I have had "the
light of God's divine promises to comfort me". But also I, and we
together, have been surrounded by a network of covenants that
have bound us as a conference with other conferences and with the
national setting of the church. I have served with an exceptional
staff over these 17 years, and colleagues in local churches across
the conference who love the UCC as fiercely as I do. Other
conferences have been generous with financial support, prayers,
and presence. The national setting has provided us tremendous
support financially and other resources that have been essential to
our growth and vitality. I took time in the meeting to thank national
staff and my colleagues for all that they have given to us.
I reminded my colleagues in conference ministry that they as I are
involved daily in ministries that are literally making the difference
between life and death. I told the story of attending a new church
start that was LGBTQ and African-American early in my ministry
here. A young man stood up during the opening testimony, and
said through his tears; "thank you for building a church which is
the first one in which I have worshipped and have not been called
names from the pulpit." That man's testimony has been with me
each step of my journey with you reminding me that we have a
ministry together that makes a life and death difference in the lives
of so many.
I celebrated that we are a united/uniting church, one in which we
understand that the unity we know in Christ is greater than any of
those things that divide us. While some think of inclusivity or unity
as always leaning to the left in the United Church of Christ, I note
that unity and inclusivity form a 360 degree circle. Thus my
greatest sadness in my time in the Southeast was the effective loss
of the East Alabama-West Georgia Association following General
Synod in 2005. With the exit of most of their churches, we lost
friends and colleagues who had through the years been close to me
and to many of us. At our best we are a people who make clear
that the table is a table for all.
We are an Easter people, who know that "death will have no
dominion" and that "there is nothing that can separate us from
Christ Jesus our Lord". I believe that this spirit is embedded in our
history, in our ministry today, and in our future.
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<&&L Forward this issue
Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ
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For More Information on Above Ads >> Click the Links Below
A. SEC Offices / B. PATHWAYS / C. Capital Campaign / D. Progressive Renewal
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